The Pie Store is Open for Business!
Our store has experienced quite the evolution and everyday, depending on who the shopkeeper is, the store takes on a different name and offers different merchandise. Today we were selling pies and while the children played we observed the various ways that they engaged with the materials. As the children play, they are constantly making decisions and choices regarding what materials they use and how and we noticed several examples this morning that highlighted their thought process and decision-making skills and allude to some very deep learning concepts.
The materials that are offered here are each intelligent in their own right and invite investigations that promote valuable actions. The teaching is evident through the environment and materials and the quality of the children’s learning is driven by the quality of the environment.
Visual and Spatial Awareness
When the children engage with the loose parts, open-ended materials they are thinking critically and testing their logic and reasoning skills. The open-ended nature of the materials affords the children the ability to reinvent their purposes and utilize things as necessary to solve the problem at hand. Lily arranges the pies on the stool and it is noticeable how the arrangement represents a deeper awareness and sense of space.
Throughout their play the children are measuring in obvious and not so obvious ways. They scoop materials in their arms and with tools or spoons they pour, mix and gather. Depending on their intention, it seems that the children are utilizing efficient ways to get things done. In the example below, Cate scoops the cuisenaire rods in her hands before placing them in the appropriately sized box.
Making Estimations and Organization Based on Material and Space
As we observed the children playing, we noticed that sometimes their choices are intentional and serve as the result of searching for a solution to a problem. When the children are participating in these cognitive processes, they are selecting a singular and uniform object or material to fill the volume of a chosen empty container. They are recognizing which materials fill the volume of various containers. This sense visual estimation is challenging and impressive as the children sort through objects and make choices based on their specific needs. They have an underlying understanding for what will fit in what and how. The materials are cross pollinating in the environment as the need arrises and the children make their choices according to their play scripts.